- For the film of this name, see 42nd Street (film). For the Broadway musical of the same name, see 42nd Street (musical).
42nd Street is a major crosstown street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, known for its theaters, especially near the intersection with Broadway at Times Square. It is also the name of the region of the theater district (and, at times, the red-light district) near that intersection. 42nd Street has held a special place in New York lingo since at least the turn of the twentieth century.
The former Longacre Scquare was renamed to honor The New York Times which established its offices and printing plant nearby. For a long period in the mid 20th century, the area of 42nd Street near Times Square was home to peep shows and other activities often considered unsavory. A comedian once said, "They call it 42nd Street because you're not safe if you spend more than forty seconds on it."
A popular 1933 movie musical named 42nd Street, set in pre_Depression Manhattan, colorfully described the bawdy mixture of Broadway shows and prositution during the early 20th century. In 1980, it was turned into a successful Broadway musical, which was revived in 2001 in a theater that was itself on 42nd Street. The following is an excerpt from the musical:
- In the heart of little old New York
you'll find a thoroughfare;
- It's the part of little old New York
that runs into Times Square...
In the late 1990s, city government encouraged a clean-up of the Times Square area. The block of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues again became home to a "legitimate" theater, along with shops and eateries that transformed the street into a showplace thronged with out-of-towners once again.
Places along 42nd Street
Places located along 42nd Street include (from west to east):
The 42nd Street-Times Square station of the New York Subway is a major transfer point, and tied via the 42nd Street Shuttle to the 42nd Street-Grand Central station.
The Lincoln Highway used 42nd Street west of Times Square, on its way to the ferry to Weehawken, New Jersey.